Past Winners Headline Champion Hurdle Field
The last three winners of the Champion Hurdle head a ten-horse field for the feature race of the opening day of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock on Ruby will contest the event on the back of a strong victory in the Listed 32Red Hurdle; a race is which leading contender Darlan fell badly and had to be put down.
2011 winner Hurricane Fly finished a disappointing third in the race last year but heads to the Cheltenham Festival in excellent form.
The son of Montjeu has claimed a quartet of Grade 1 triumphs since his 2012 Champion Hurdle defeat winning the Rabobank Champion Hurdle, Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle, Istabraq Festival Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle.
Bincoular is the other former Champion Hurdle winner in the field and will contest the race for the fourth time.
The nine-year-old has only had one run since his fourth place finish in the 2012 Champion Hurdle, finishing third behind Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Countrywide Flame is another Grade 1 winner in the field and is looking to score back to back Cheltenham Festival victories after winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle last year.
Trainer John Quinn said Countrywide Flame could not be in better condition just days out from the feature carnival of the jumps racing season.
“Countrywide Flame has done his final serious piece of work and came through it well,” Quinn said.
“He led the string at a good pace before extending nicely.
“It’s now all systems go for him next week and I don’t think the team could have done a better job in preparing him.”
Zarkandar, Cinders and Ashes, Grandouet and Khyber Kim with Cotton Mill and Balder Success not expected to run.
Hurricane Fly is on the top of the Champion Hurdle betting market at Bet365 and is currently available at Champion Hurdle odds of 7/4.
He is followed in the market by Zarkandar (4/1), Rock on Ruby (5/1), Grandouet (11/2), Binocular (10/1), Cinders and Ashes (10/1) and Countrywide Flame (14/1).
You can find the best Cheltenham Festival odds at Bet365.
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